DOWNSTROKE

"Distorted Sunshine" (Non-Inteference; 1997)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

When I saw the name Mike Varney as producer I figured I'd give this CD a shot. Mike Varney is the guy that started Shrapnel Records and discovered Vinnie Moore and Tony MacAlpine among many other big-time shredders. I was hoping Mike Varney had found the Swedish equivalent to his previous discoveries - I wasn't lucky this time around. So the point of this review is that anything with Mike Varney's name doesn't mean it's a top-notch shred-fest.

DownStroke is a Swedish quartet that make post-grunge, heavy power pop that would not be out of place on rock radio. However, that's the best it can do - anyone would have a difficult time classifying DownStroke as hard rock, let alone heavy metal. Generally speaking "Distorted Sunshine" is unspectacular and unmemorable, but enjoyable nonetheless.  Nothing is really great, but then again nothing is really bad either.

Distorted guitars are not plentiful, but make their presence known in a few places. Heavy riffs on the title track, "The Sweetest Part," "Super Airwash," and "As Simple As That" are enjoyable. Decent lead guitar breaks can be found on "And So It Goes" and "Swallow."

The vocals are a varied affair. Shades of Bruce Dickinson-ish vocals are utilized on "While You Were Away" and the harmonies throughout remind me of King's X to a certain extent.

"Distorted Sunshine" was produced by Mike Varney and Downstroke.

Downstroke is Henrik Edenhed on lead vocals and guitars, Per Fallstrom on bass and backing vocals, David Andersson on guitar and backing vocals, and Andreas Westerling on drums, percussion, and backing vocals. Paul Bothen contributed Hammond organ and wurlitzer piano.

Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

 

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